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Body Language Basics

Body Language Basics

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Body Language Basics

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  1. Body Language Basics

  2. Module One: Getting Started The human body is the best picture of the human soul. Ludwig Wittgenstein • The ability to interpret body language is a skill that will enhance anyone’s career. Body language is a form of communication, and it needs to be practiced like any other form of communication. Whether in sales or management, it is essential to understand the body language of others and exactly what your own body is communicating.

  3. Workshop Objectives • Define body language. • Understand the benefits and purpose of interpreting body language. • Learn to interpret basic body language movements. • Recognize common mistakes when interpreting body language. • Understand your own body language and what you are communicating. • Practice your body language skills.

  4. Module Two: Communicating with Body Language The body never lies. Martha Graham • We are constantly communicating, even when we are not speaking. Unspoken communication makes up over half of what we tell others and they tell us. It affects our work and personal relationships. Improves negotiating, management, and interpersonal skills by correctly interpreting body language and important signals.

  5. Learning a New Language • Set Goals: Make sure that your goals are realistic and have specific timelines. • Devote time to learning: Schedule time to practice. Do not rely on spare time. • Practice daily: Hone skills by continued practice. • Enjoy the process: You are not in school. Relax and have fun with your new skill.

  6. The Power of Body Language • It is honest. • Creates self-awareness. • Understand feelings. • Enhance listening and communication skills.

  7. More than Words • Proximity: The distance between people • Positioning: Position of a body • Facial expression: The eyes are particularly noticed. • Touching: This includes objects, people, and themselves. • Breathing: The rate of respiration is telling.

  8. Actions Speak Louder than Words • Emotions • Attraction • Being open • Being closed off • Deception • Confidence • Nerves • Boredom

  9. Case Study • Jim had to hire a new personal assistant. • Jen answered all of the interview questions perfectly. • After a few weeks, some of Jim’s coworkers complained about her behavior. • They accused her of being aggressive and insubordinate, but she never said anything specifically rude or hostile. • Jim had to coach Jen on her nonverbal communication, and he added a body language evaluation to his interview process.

  10. Module Two: Review Questions • 3. What does body language NOT improve? • Sight • Listening • Success • Understanding • 4. What should provide cues to your communication? • Your own feelings • Feelings of others • The tone of voice • The truth • 1. Goals should be _____? • Concurrent • Compatible • Revised • Realistic • 2. How often should body language be practiced? • Hourly • Weekly • Daily • Monthly

  11. Module Two: Review Questions • 7. _____ makes a lasting impression. • Body language • Words • Appearance • Clothing • 8. Body language can communicate _____. • Experience • Estimation • Expectations • Deception • 5. What is the term for the distance between people? • Respiration • Proximity • Positioning • Screening • 6. What is NOT included in touching? • Self • Others • Positioning • Objects

  12. Module Two: Review Questions • 9. What unacceptable form of body communication did Jen exhibit? • Yelling • Aggression • Eye rolling • Crossed arms • 10. What did Jim add to his interview? • Double interview • Body language assessment • Internal interviews • Skills assessment

  13. Module Two: Review Questions • 3. What does body language NOT improve? • Sight • Listening • Success • Understanding • 4. What should provide cues to your communication? • Your own feelings • Feelings of others • The tone of voice • The truth • 1. Goals should be _____? • Concurrent • Compatible • Revised • Realistic • 2. How often should body language be practiced? • Hourly • Weekly • Daily • Monthly

  14. Module Two: Review Questions • 7. _____ makes a lasting impression. • Body language • Words • Appearance • Clothing • 8. Body language can communicate _____. • Experience • Estimation • Expectations • Deception • 5. What is the term for the distance between people? • Respiration • Proximity • Positioning • Screening • 6. What is NOT included in touching? • Self • Others • Positioning • Objects

  15. Module Two: Review Questions • 9. What unacceptable form of body communication did Jen exhibit? • Yelling • Aggression • Eye rolling • Crossed arms • 10. What did Jim add to his interview? • Double interview • Body language assessment • Internal interviews • Skills assessment

  16. Module Three: Reading Body Language Emotion always has its roots in the unconscious and manifests itself in the body. Irene Claremont de Castillejo • We are constantly reading the body language of others, even when we are not aware of it. Actively reading body language, however, will provide valuable insight and improve communication. Pay attention to the positions and movements of people around you. Specifically their head positions, physical gestures, and eyes.

  17. Head Position • Head high: Holding the head high signals confidence or feelings of superiority. • Chin up: The chin up indicates defiance or confidence. • Head forward: Facing someone directly indicates interest. It is a positive signal. • Tilted down: Tilting the head down signals disapproval. • Shaking: A shaking head indicates disagreement. The faster the shaking, the stronger the disagreement. • Nodding: Nodding typically indicates agreement. A slow nod can be a sign of interest or a polite, fake signal. Look to other eyes for confirmation. A fast nod signals impatience with the speaker. • Head up: This position indicates that the person is listening without bias. • Head down: This position indicates disinterest or rejection for what is said. When done during an activity, it signals weakness or tiredness.

  18. Translating Gestures into Words • Pointing finger: This is an aggressive movement. When a wink is added, however, it is a positive confirmation of an individual. • Finger moves side to side: This motion acts as a warning to stop something. • Finger moves up and down: This acts as a reprimand or places emphasis on what is said. • Thumbs up: Thumbs up is a sign of approval. • Thumbs down: This is a sign of disapproval. • Touch index finger to thumb: The sign indicates OK.

  19. Open Vs. Closed Body Language • Closed body language: • Arms crossed: This stance is often defensive or hostile. • Legs crossed when seated: Cross legs can indicate caution. • Arm or object in front of the body: This can coincide with nervousness and is a form of self-protection. • Legs crossed when standing: This may mean someone is insecure. • Open body language: • Legs not crossed: This is an open, relaxed position. • Arms not crossed: Open arms indicate openness; although the hands may indicate aggression, supplication, or insecurity, depending on their position.

  20. The Eyes Have It • Looking to the left: Eyes in this direction can mean someone is remembering something. • Looking to the right: Looks to the right indicates imagination. It can mean guessing or lying. • Direct eye contact: When speaking, this means sincerity and honesty. When listening, it indicates interest. • Wide eyes: Widening eyes signal interest. • Rolled eyes: Rolled eyes mean frustration. They can be considered a sign of hostility. • Blinking: Frequent blinking indicates excitement. • Winking: A wink is a friendly gesture or secret joke. • Rubbing eyes: Rubbing eyes may be caused by tiredness. It can also indicate disbelief or being disturbed.

  21. Case Study • Mark is a sales executive who led a meeting hoping to reach new clients and increase his sales. He thought the presentation went well. Many people attending began to nod vigorously. He took this as a sign of agreement and added a few more facts to cement his position, which lengthened the presentation a few minutes. After the presentation, however, only two attendees chose to sign up. Most made comments about being late and promised to meet with him later.

  22. Module Three: Review Questions • 3. What is the signal for OK? • Pointed finger • Thumbs up • Touch thumb and index finger • Thumbs down • 4. Thumb down is a gesture of ______. • Interest • Approval • Disinterest • Disapproval • 1. A head positioned forward facing someone indicates ______. • Interest • Superiority • Approval • Disinterest • 2. A head held high can indicate ________. • Interest • Superiority • Approval • Disinterest

  23. Module Three: Review Questions • 7. Looks to the right indicate _________. • Memory • Sound • Thought • Imagination • 8. What signals disbelief? • Rolled Eyes • Blinking • Rubbing eyes • Winking • 5. Crossed arms are an example of ________. • Closed body language • Aggression • Open body language • Approval • 6. Crossed legs while standing combined with crossed arm indicate _______. • Interest • Insecurity • Approval • Disapproval

  24. Module Three: Review Questions • 9. How many attendees did Mark persuade with his presentation? • 0 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 10. Describe the nodding of the attendees? • Barely noticeable • Shaking • Slow • Fast

  25. Module Three: Review Questions • 3. What is the signal for OK? • Pointed finger • Thumbs up • Touch thumb and index finger • Thumbs down • 4. Thumb down is a gesture of ______. • Interest • Approval • Disinterest • Disapproval • 1. A head positioned forward facing someone indicates ______. • Interest • Superiority • Approval • Disinterest • 2. A head held high can indicate ________. • Interest • Superiority • Approval • Disinterest

  26. Module Three: Review Questions • 7. Looks to the right indicate _________. • Memory • Sound • Thought • Imagination • 8. What signals disbelief? • Rolled Eyes • Blinking • Rubbing eyes • Winking • 5. Crossed arms are an example of ________. • Closed body language • Aggression • Open body language • Approval • 6. Crossed legs while standing combined with crossed arm indicate _______. • Interest • Insecurity • Approval • Disapproval

  27. Module Three: Review Questions • 9. How many attendees did Mark persuade with his presentation? • 0 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 10. Describe the nodding of the attendees? • Barely noticeable • Shaking • Slow • Fast

  28. Module Four: Body Language Mistakes The biggest single problem in communication is the illusion it is taking place. George Bernard Shaw • There are different factors that will create false body language signals. This is why it is so important to examine the positions and gestures as a whole when attempting to interpret body language. To prevent body language mistakes, become aware of these factors and think carefully when reading body language.

  29. Poor Posture • Injury: Both acute injuries and repetitive motion injuries can alter someone’s posture. • Illness: Autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis, can damage the skeletal structure. • Skeletal structure: Scoliosis and other problems with the spine will affect posture. • Temperature: People may take a closed posture when they are cold.

  30. Invading Personal Space • 12 feet: This zone is for the public. The purpose is to avoid physical interaction. • 4 feet: This zone is reserved for social interactions such as business settings. Touching requires the individual to move forward. • 18 inches: This is a personal zone. It allows contact, and it is reserved for friends and family. • 6 inches: This zone is reserved for close relationships. This zone can be invaded in crowds or sports. • 0 to 6 inches: This zone is reserved for intimate relationships.

  31. Quick Movements • There are reasons why movements may seem quick or jerking. • Stress • Illness • Exhaustion • Cold

  32. Fidgeting • Attention deficit disorder: ADD and ADHD are often accompanied by fidgeting. • Hormone imbalances: These may be accompanied by nervous energy. • Blood sugar imbalances: Fidgeting accompanies sugar highs. • Imbalanced brain chemistry: These may increase tension. • Medications: Steroids and other medications can cause imbalances

  33. Case Study • Sara was not impressed with Jon when she first saw him. His shoulders were hunched over in a closed off position. She went into the interview knowing that it would be a waste of her time. Jon’s head position, however, showed interest. He had an engaging smile and was genuinely interested in the position. Given his skills and complete body language assessment, Sara became more positive about Jon as a candidate. The interview revealed that Jon had worked a manufacturing job where his upper back was injured.

  34. Module Four: Review Questions • 3. What should be evaluated before assuming someone is invading personal space? • Goals • Activity • Space • Relationship • 4. What will not affect a person’s concept of personal space? • Culture • Activity • Background • Space • 1. Repetitive motions will ________ posture. • Create an ill • Not affect • Injure • Improve • 2. A closed posture is common when people are ____. • Cold • Happy • Hot • Warm

  35. Module Four: Review Questions • 7. What is not an emotional reason for fidgeting? • Nerves • Boredom • Happiness • Frustration • 8. Employees need to be able to communicate their ______. • Requirements • Feedback • Frustration • Needs • 5. What is not a factor that causes quick movements? • Illness • Activity • Exhaustion • Cold • 6. What do quick movements typically indicate to observers? • Activities • Deception • Nerves • Happiness

  36. Module Four: Review Questions • 9. What was Sara’s initial impression of Jon? • Positive • Helpful • Negative • Optimistic • 10. What explained Jon’s posture? • Injury • Illness • Age • Medication

  37. Module Four: Review Questions • 3. What should be evaluated before assuming someone is invading personal space? • Goals • Activity • Space • Relationship • 4. What will not affect a person’s concept of personal space? • Culture • Activity • Background • Space • 1. Repetitive motions will ________ posture. • Create an ill • Not affect • Injure • Improve • 2. A closed posture is common when people are ____. • Cold • Happy • Hot • Warm

  38. Module Four: Review Questions • 7. What is not an emotional reason for fidgeting? • Nerves • Boredom • Happiness • Frustration • 8. Employees need to be able to communicate their ______. • Requirements • Feedback • Frustration • Needs • 5. What is not a factor that causes quick movements? • Illness • Activity • Exhaustion • Cold • 6. What do quick movements typically indicate to observers? • Activities • Deception • Nerves • Happiness

  39. Module Four: Review Questions • 9. What was Sara’s initial impression of Jon? • Positive • Helpful • Negative • Optimistic • 10. What explained Jon’s posture? • Injury • Illness • Age • Medication

  40. Module Five: Gender Differences a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts ... the body language of a man wishing urgently to be elsewhere. Edward R. Murrow • Not all body language is universal. There are differences in the way that men and women communicate. Body language is often confused between genders. In order to prevent miscommunications, it is important to understand the signals that are common to most people as well as the different signals that men and women communicate with their body language.

  41. Facial Expressions • Men and women share the universal facial expressions, but there are some differences in use and perception. • Women frequently smile to be polite or fulfill cultural expectations. • The meanings behind smiles are often misinterpreted.

  42. Personal Distances • Men: Men generally take more space than women, and they employ larger personal distances. • Women: Women generally employ smaller personal distances with each other or with male friends. They tend to increase personal distance with strange men.

  43. Female Body Language • Body Position and posture: Many women use closed body language. • Leaning: Women will lean forward when they are interested in something or someone. • Smiling: While it is often a friendly gesture, it is a probably a polite gesture when the eyes are not engaged. • Eye contact: Eye contact indicates interest (either in what is said or the individual). Dilated pupils are another sign of interest. • Mirroring: Women often mirror, or copy, the actions of each other. They will occasionally mirror men. • Legs and feet: The legs and feet typically point in the direction of a woman’s interest. This includes romantic interest. • Touching: Women are more likely to touch each other than men are. • Tapping: Tapping or fidgeting is a sign that a woman is annoyed or uncomfortable.

  44. Male Body Language • Stance: Men often choose wide stances to increase their size. • Eye contact: Men will make eye contact, but eye contact can be seen as a dominating or hostile act when it lasts too long. • Mirroring: Men do not typically mirror each other. They often mirror women to show their interest. • Legs and feet: Like women, the legs and feet typically point in the direction of a man’s interest. This includes romantic interest. • Smiling: Men do not smile as often as women in social settings; their facial expressions are often reserved. • Hands: Men are more likely to fidget than women. This is not necessarily a sign of insecurity or boredom, just a way to use energy.

  45. Case Study • Tom was attracted to his coworker Lisa. Lisa always smiled when she saw him come in. She even laughed at his jokes. Tom would spend time in her cubicle, and she never told him to leave. She simply continued working, leaning toward her computer while he talked to her back. Tom was certain that Lisa would go out with him, and one day he asked her. To his surprise, Lisa was annoyed by his request. She told him that she did nothing to encourage his attention and that she would file a harassment report if he asked her out again.

  46. Module Five: Review Questions • 3. Women typically have larger personal distances with _____? • Each other • Male strangers • Friends • Male friends • 4. Whose personal distance is more likely to be respected? • A boy’s • A woman’s • A girl’s • A man’s • 1. _____ are more likely to smile? • Women • The old • Men • The young • 2. How are facial expressions between men and women viewed? • The same • Equally • Differently • In context

  47. Module Five: Review Questions • 5. What is signaled when a woman only smiles with her mouth? • Politeness • Attraction • Interest • Happiness • 6. A woman is annoyed if she is _____? • Leaning forward • Tapping • Smiling • Touching • 7. Men are more likely to mirror ______? • Women • Each other • No one • Anyone • 8. What can prolonged eye contact indicate? • Domination • Friendship • Interest • Boredom

  48. Module Five: Review Questions • 9. How you describe Lisa’s smile? • Polite • Genuine • Happy • Engaging • 10. What indicated that Lisa was not happy with Tom? • Leaning away from him • Leaning toward him • Smiling • Laughing

  49. Module Five: Review Questions • 3. Women typically have larger personal distances with _____? • Each other • Male strangers • Friends • Male friends • 4. Whose personal distance is more likely to be respected? • A boy’s • A woman’s • A girl’s • A man’s • 1. _____ are more likely to smile? • Women • The old • Men • The young • 2. How are facial expressions between men and women viewed? • The same • Equally • Differently • In context

  50. Module Five: Review Questions • 5. What is signaled when a woman only smiles with her mouth? • Politeness • Attraction • Interest • Happiness • 6. A woman is annoyed if she is _____? • Leaning forward • Tapping • Smiling • Touching • 7. Men are more likely to mirror ______? • Women • Each other • No one • Anyone • 8. What can prolonged eye contact indicate? • Domination • Friendship • Interest • Boredom